Today’s Health Morsel: Sweet Potatoes

Friday is burger day in my house, so today’s daily dozen is planned around sweet potato black bean burgers. Plus, I’ll explain why you should remove the skin of regular potatoes, but keep the skin of sweet potatoes.

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What do you do when all the fruit you bought doesn’t fit into your fruit salad container? Eat it for breakfast!

  • 1/2 charentais melon (a/b 2 c.)
  • 1/4 c. dates
  • 1/2 c. blueberries

Checklist items: berries, 3 other fruits (4 out of 18 servings)


 

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Beans & greens is such a great lunch, b/c it can be something hot or cold, for any time of year. Today, I’ve got a 3-bean salad with a twist.

  • 1/2 c. borlotti beans
  • 1/2 c. kidney beans
  • 2 c. chopped batavia lettuce
  • 1/4 c. cannellini beans
  • 1 sm. garlic clove, minced
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T mustard
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • s & p
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1/8 c. sunflower seeds
  1. Add the borlotti & kidney beans to a salad bowl along with the arugula & lettuce.
  2. Put the cannellini into a blender, along with the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, dill, and s & p, and blend until creamy. Add aquafaba if necessary to thin the dressing to your desired texture.
  3. Mix the dressing into the beans and let stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If you can prepare it the day before you plan to eat it, the flavors will marry even better.
  4. Sprinkle ground flaxseed and sunflower seeds on before serving.

Checklist items: 2 1/2 beans, 2 greens, flaxseed, 1/2 nuts, spices (7 out of 18 servings)


 

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The healthiest potato is the one with the most color. Purple sweet potatoes appear to have more cancer-fighting ability than any other potato, but a regular old sweet potato has been named one of the top 10 healthiest foods on the planet, especially considering bang-for-your-buck!

So, what’s the best way to cook them? They’re so good for that you can cook them however you’d like, except, of course, for deep frying. But if you really want to squeeze as much benefit as you can from every ounce of sweet potato, then you’ll want to boil them – this cooking method best retains the vitamins & antioxidant capacity. You’ll want to leave the skin of your sweet potatoes on, because the skin contains 10x the antioxidant capacity compared to the flesh (as long as you don’t bake it).

Unlike other potato varieties, sweet potatoes don’t contain glycoalkaloids. Glycoalkaloids are natural pesticides & fungicides that plants in the nightshade family produce themselves. Unfortunately, they’re toxic for humans, too. Glycoalkaloids are mostly in the skin and eyes of potatoes, which is why it’s important to remove them. How you store your potatoes can also make a difference – both light and heat increase the production of glycoalkaloids, so you’ll want to keep your potatoes in a cool, dark place. Learn more here. Sweet potatoes don’t produce glycoalkaloids because they aren’t members of the nightshade family.

What happens when you overdose on sweet potatoes? Like with carrots, you could go a bit yellow around the nose. But it’s completely harmless, and goes away on its own after some time, so no need to worry. (See sources)

The recipe I’m making today comes from Minimalist Baker. See my review, along with the changes that I made, and the original recipe is here. I’ve included the checklist below for easy reference. It’s for the recipe as I made it, and includes the bun and toppings.wp-1475230963677.jpg

Checklist items: 2/3 serving beans, cruciferous, 2 other vegetables , 1/2 nuts, spices, 3 whole grains (a little more than 8 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

19 1/6 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything today, plus a little bit extra beans, and an extra servings of spices.

 

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Recipe Review: Minimalist Baker’s sweet potato black bean burger

I frequently visit Minimalist Baker for inspiration in my meal planning – so many wonderful vegan recipes. And the sweet potato black bean burgers are no exception. Just get a load of this guy!

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photo courtesy of Minimalist Baker

I kept fairly close to the original recipe, but did make some changes, and I have an interesting idea for the next time I make them! So, here’s how it went…

The Recipe
  • 2 c. mashed sweet potato
  • 1 c. cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked buckwheat
  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/2 c. diced green onion
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

The original recipe had rice – I substituted buckwheat, and it worked very well.

The original recipe also suggests optional chipotle powder, which I would have added if I had any, but the recipe is good without it.

Also optional in the original is brown sugar, but I left that out, and the sweet potato itself was plenty sweet for me.

Finally, though the recipe calls for walnut or pecan meal, and I do think that might taste even better, I used almond meal because I have some that is on its way out & so I wanted to use it before it went bad. They tasted great as I made them, so don’t be afraid to make the same substitution if that’s easier for you.

For instructions, see the original recipe. At first, I was worried because my mixture seemed very wet compared to other vegan burgers that I’ve made, but they molded & held together perfectly!

Nutrition Information

I made 6 big patties (though the original recipe calls for 12). Here is the modified nutrition info for my burgers & the breakdown of how this recipe fits into Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. The nutrition info is for the burger recipe alone. The Daily Dozen checklist will be for the 2 patties together in one bun (mega-burger!) with 1/2 c. arugula, 1/4 c. tomato &/or onion. And, of course,  you can add anything else you’d like.

spbbb_nutrition_info
I generated this information using cronometer.com

 

Just look at all that dietary fiber! That’s because of the buckwheat.

Checklist items: 2/3 serving beans, cruciferous, 2 other vegetables , 1/2 nuts, spices, 3 whole grains (a little more than 8 out of 18 servings)

To more easily fit this into a daily meal plan, here is a list of the servings you will need to eat during other meals, snacks, dessert to complete the day:

  • 2 1/3 servings of beans ( = 1/2 c. + 1 T + 1 tsp hummus or 1 1/8 c. beans/tofu/tempeh or 2 1/3 c. peas/sprouted lentils)
  • 1 berries
  • 3 other fruits
  • 2 greens
  • 1 flaxseeds
  • 1/2 nuts ( = 1 T nut or seed butter or 1/8 c. nuts or seeds)

Just by way of suggestion, this might be a good day to have a berry fruity breakfast and a beans & greens lunch!

Performance

I loved the sweet potato black bean burger recipe! I think the original would be great but, as you can see, it’s also very tolerant of substitution, so you can play around with it a little like I did to make it fit what’s in your pantry, or any current passions (like my new-found love of buckwheat).

In terms of cooking, I brought these to a BBQ and cooked them on the grill. Others had been cooking meat, so I used aluminum foil on the grill-top, and then a little square of baking paper on each side of each patty to ensure they wouldn’t stick to the foil. They cooked wonderfully. The grill wasn’t very hot, and I was very hungry, so I didn’t let them cook for as long as I should have. Next time I’d like them to be chewier & firmer. But that’s all in the cooking. My partner was just happy that they weren’t burnt (he gets a little overzealous with the grill at home).

What will I change next time? Other than cooking them properly, I want to try substituting  in black rice! That will up the antioxidant power, and I bet it’ll look cool, too!

So, the final word is: definitely try this recipe and incorporate it into your daily dozen!